Short-handed Celtics trounce Sixers; Lillard leads Bucks past Raptors
LOS ANGELES – The Boston Celtics shrugged off the absence of Kristaps Porzingis and Jaylen Brown to defeat the Philadelphia 76ers and claim top spot in the Eastern Conference on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time).
Jayson Tatum led the Boston scoring with 29 points while Derrick White weighed in with 27 to give Boston a 117-107 victory on the road in Philadelphia.
The win saw Boston move into first place in the Eastern Conference standings at 9-2, with the Sixers falling to 8-3 in second.
"Top to bottom we've got a lot of guys who can do a lot of good things," said White, who scored 14 fourth quarter points to shepherd the Celtics to victory.
"I've been pretty bad the past couple of games, I just wanted to go out there and compete and do what I do and make some shots," White said.
An entertaining clash at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center saw the lead change hands 11 times, with Boston sprinting into a 17-point lead early in the second quarter.
The Sixers responded to finish the first half strongly, however, taking a 58-57 lead into the break.
But Boston hit back in the third period to outscore Philly 26-17 to take what turned out to be a decisive eight-point lead into the fourth quarter.
In other games on Wednesday, Damian Lillard dropped 37 points with 13 assists and four rebounds as the Milwaukee Bucks pounded the Toronto Raptors 128-112 on the road.
The win marked a triumphant return to Toronto for Bucks coach Adrian Griffin, the former Raptors assistant coach who joined Milwaukee in May following the sacking of Mike Budenholzer.
Milwaukee, missing the injured Giannis Antetokounmpo, controlled the game after taking the lead early in the first quarter, leading by as much as 33 points at one stage in the third quarter.
Lillard was backed with 30 points from Malik Beasley, who nailed eight 3-pointers. Bobby Portis added 18 from the bench and Khris Middleton 11 as the Bucks improved to 7-4 for the season.
Scottie Barnes led Toronto's scorers with 29 points.
Elsewhere Wednesday, Tim Hardaway Jr's 31 points and 26 points from Luka Doncic helped the Dallas Mavericks complete a 130-117 rout on the road against the Washington Wizards.
In Chicago, Paolo Banchero's